Kai knocks on the door once.
Then three times.
He feels tempted to ring the doorbell, but he knows this is enough. He waits patiently for a couple of seconds until the door opens, revealing a tired-looking Minseok behind it. His hair is all over the place and he’s not wearing his typical three-piece suit. Probably had been sleeping before Kai showed up.
“I have a theory.” Kai simply says, waving at the other man with his bandaged hand. Minseok can only take a deep breath.
“It’s three in the morning.”
“Then why are you here?” Minseok glances over Kai’s shoulder. “Are you alone? Jongin is going to erase you from existence.”
“Maybe.” Kai shrugs. “Can I use your home office?”
Minseok sighs, stepping to the side to let him in. “Why?”
“This is one of the few places Soo hasn’t been in,” Kai replies as he walks down Minseok’s hallway at a fast pace. He briefly glances at the daggers and swords displayed over Minseok’s walls, along with the paintings. There isn’t a single picture of him or his family. The man decorated the apartment with taste, however, it feels impersonal. Apparently, that’s an issue his entire team has. Kai sighs, but doesn’t stop until he’s inside Minseok’s office.
Minseok follows, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the door frame as he watches his boss get comfortable and put his laptop over the glass desk. At least he’s not in killing mode.
He doesn’t know what really went down between them and Kyungsoo, but when they got to the office Kai looked like he could snap and kill someone at the slightest mistake and Jongin looked the most depressed he’s ever seen him.
It’s been a rough couple of days.
“What’s your theory?”
Kai blinks. “Oh! It’s more like an idea.” He tilts his head. “I think whoever did this is the same person who orchestrated everything that happened months ago. I have a feeling they just let us cool down and think it was safe before they attacked again.”
Minseok is silent as Kai types on his keyboard. He’s been looking at the fake documents and the real ones for a while, trying to find anything that could give him a clue. The signatures were identical, so he couldn’t blame Kyungsoo for thinking they betrayed him. Looking at his own signature, he couldn’t tell the difference.
He tried looking up more information on the company they were doing business with. To start, their impatience now seems suspicious to him. They did a background check on the company before they started discussions for a business deal, but couldn’t find anything that appeared concerning. Now Kai wasn’t so sure.
There has to be something there. If he wants to convince Kyungsoo that he’s telling the truth, he has to get all the evidence possible. The real documents wouldn’t be enough to get him to listen.
“Alright then. Do I have to worry about you breaking my things while I sleep, or can you be here without supervision?”
“I’ll be fine.” Kai pauses. “Yesterday was… difficult.”
“You’re not mad anymore?”
“Oh, I’m furious…” Kai looks up at Minseok. The rage is clear in his eyes. “I can’t wait to find these bastards and lay them in their graves. It’ll be fun.” He smiles.
“Right… well, I’m going back to sleep.”
Kai nods. “Sweet dreams.”
Minseok shakes his head. “That doesn't mean you can stay up all night. You have one hour before I come back and put you to sleep myself.”
“And also, I’m telling Jongin.”
Minseok shakes his head, leaving the room. He has to keep an eye on him because knowing his boss he’ll push himself to the limit.
And that wasn’t something any of them needed right now.
Jongin is stepping on dangerous territory. Quite literally.
He knows this isn’t something he should be doing, especially at three in the morning and all alone. If anybody catches him inside Lee’s territory at this time, they would probably take him down on sight. However, he couldn’t sit back and do nothing, while Kai searched for a way to fix this. They needed more information, and they were not going to get it sitting behind their desks.
He sits in his motorbike, extremely close to Lee’s old warehouses, he’s still on the limit of his territory, however, anyone who belongs to their world could recognize him if he wasn’t careful. When he heard Lee’s territory had functioning as usual all this time, he knew he had to get down here and take a look.
Kai would probably throw a fit.
But he doesn’t care.
Jongin parked his bike in front of a bar. He could see the warehouses from there and notice movement if needed. He doesn’t go to the bar because at this time it’s probably filled with gang members and people he would rather not see. They could recognize him instantly and that would cause issues. So instead, he sits outside, taking in the warm air as he waits, lurking in the shadows.
After their conversation with Kyungsoo and seeing those documents, Jongin’s feelings have been all over the place. He didn’t know what a broken heart felt like before, however, now the pain is trying to crawl out of his chest. It’s unbearable.
He had so many things he wanted to say. He wanted to make Kyungsoo look at him properly and assure him he would never hurt him, at least not after they confessed their feelings.
He wanted to make him happy.
Something he never felt towards anyone, not this way. Just to think that what they have could be gone forever. That he would never get to experience anything like that again.
Rage warms up his body.
Every minute that goes by, he promises himself to make it extra painful for whoever pulled this on them. Whoever broke Kyungsoo’s feelings, his trust in them. Jongin takes a deep breath.
Hell would come for them.
“Well, if it isn’t one of the Kims.” A voice says behind him.
“.” Jongin mumbles under his breath. He glances over his shoulder to find three guys standing on the sidewalk. Judging by their tattoos and the jackets they were wearing, Jongin identifies the gang they belong to. Part of him is debating if he should leave and roam around the other side.
However, the growing rage in him wants them to push for trouble.
One of them walks towards him, stumbling slightly, which means he’s tipsy, or straight-up drunk. “The are you doing down here? Looking for trouble?”
Jongin chuckles, not bothering to answer. Partly because he never does, but also because he’s hoping his silence will be enough fuel.
“Can’t you see I’m talking to you?” The guy walks closer, however, one of his friends pulls him back.
Jongin takes another deep breath, getting ready to turn on his bike and leave. He feels movement behind him. Then he sees the guy launching towards him. He’s either too drunk or too slow because Jongin grabs his arm and pushes him back to his friends before he can even dream about reaching him.
The guy tries again, but his friends do a better job of keeping him back this time. The street illuminates when a car appears around the corner, alerting Jongin. This isn’t the safest part of the city, and if this dude has more people heading their way, Jongin might be in trouble. He dips his head to the side, his shoes coming into view. Waiting for a few seconds, the black car drives past them. It’s a fancy car, too. Jongin checks the license plate.
It isn’t one he can recognize, but he quickly memorizes it, writing it down on his phone as well.
His eyes follow the car until it stops in front of the warehouse. He sees people coming out of it, but he can’t identify any of them. He wants to get closer so desperately, but he knows he shouldn’t. Behind him, the other guy is still making a scene when Jongin feels his phone vibrating in his pocket.
He has two text messages. One is from Minseok, informing him Kai is at his place.
“ing idiot.” He whispers as he replies to Minseok.
The second one comes from his security team. He reads through it carefully, adrenaline starting to rush through his veins again.
He sighs. Time to get to work. He glances at the dudes, nodding in their direction before he turns on his bike. Quickly driving away.
Jongin arrives at Minseok’s apartment around four. As expected Minseok is still awake, and he can only apologize for his stupid brother. Just because he couldn’t sleep that didn’t mean he had to keep everyone else awake.
“It’s fine. I wake up around this time anyway.” Minseok lets him in and leads the way toward the office, where Kai is still attached to his computer. Jongin sighs.
“Listen to me Kim,” Jongin says as he closes the laptop, almost on Kai’s fingers. “Get out of the house on your own again and I’ll be the one to hunt you down and shoot you.”
Kai simply smiles at his brother. “Alright.”
“I mean it.”
Minseok sighs standing by the door. “I think it’s about time he takes a break.”
“I can’t do that now. I’m not near close to solving this.” Kai opens his laptop again.
Jongin sighs. “Well, I got answers from our team. They identified the trespasser.”
Both Minseok’s and Kai’s heads jerk back in response.
“And?” Kai asks.
Jongin places his phone on the desk. A side-by-side picture of the man in question. “Chung Jihoon. He used to be one of Lee’s men. According to reports, he’s been spotted several times, leading some of the remaining groups as well around Lee’s territory.”
Kai nods. “They’re still functioning. They got a new leader to follow.”
“Unless Lee came back from his ashes that’s what I’m assuming.” Jongin sighs.
“I think if we find who their new leader is, we might have our person.” Kai glances at the picture once again. Something is definitely not adding up. He was aware, even before, that there was someone else behind what happened a few months ago. Lee wasn’t the smartest person, however, taking over Lee’s men so silently.
Without a single dispute for the spot.
Even running everything so smoothly. Kai is honestly impressed. He then looks at his laptop screen, the only information available for that company wouldn’t be enough to connect them to this. But he knows they’re connected. There has to be a middle point somewhere.
“Also…” Jongin hesitates. “I was hanging out near Lee’s territory earlier.”
Kai raises an eyebrow. “Hanging out?”
Minseok throws his head back and sighs. “You’re both psychos.”
“You know if they catch you, they won’t hesitate to shoot you.” Kai crosses his arms over his chest.
“Guess I’m not smarter than you.” Jongin shrugs. “But that’s not the point. I saw a car heading down to the warehouse. A bunch of men in suits came out of it. I didn’t know any of them, but it seems fishy.”
Kai is silent for a moment. “What kind of car was it?”
“I didn’t check what kind of car it was, but I memorized the plate.”
Kai nods. “Alright. We can work with that. We’ll run this information by Junmyeon in the morning and keep digging. In the meantime, call Chanyeol. We might need him.”
“On it,” Minseok says.
“Do you think this info will get us somewhere?” Jongin frowns.
“I think it will. I have the feeling this doesn’t stop here.”
He doesn’t know how much time has passed.
Or if anyone has tried to reach him.
Kyungsoo has been sitting in front of the window for what feels like ages. The same glass of whiskey in his hand that he keeps refilling when he finds it empty. The same scenery.
He knows Baekhyun will be there soon to bring food. He doesn’t feel like eating anything, but he will if that means he won’t be a burden. Kyungsoo knows his team is concerned about him, and part of him feels ashamed that they’ve had to see this pathetic side of him.
The one who sits by the window and does nothing more than think about every single moment he thought was real and now had to come to terms with the fact it wasn’t.
He can’t cry again.
Kyungsoo has shed too many tears already, and even when his eyes feel empty, his heart says otherwise time and time again. He can’t stop them. Did he really give this much of his heart away? He should’ve known this would happen. He should’ve known they would never change.
Kyungsoo wanted to believe it was possible, but they proved once again that it wasn’t.
That he should keep an eye open at all times.
There’s a knock on the door and Baekhyun walks in with his food, as expected. He carefully puts it down, letting out a sigh as he looks at his boss.
“Eat while it’s still warm, please,” Baekhyun says.
Kyungsoo simply nods.
“Are you going to sit there all night too?” Baekhyun approaches. “I think going outside would help you.”
“I’m fine.” He says again. “I will be.”
They both stay silent for a moment.
“We were thinking…” Baekhyun hesitates, biting his bottom lip. “Shouldn’t we look into it properly?”
Kyungsoo frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Well, knowing Kai… he would take this opportunity to brag about his victory. However, all it seems to me is that they’re trying to prove they didn’t do it.”
“You saw the papers Baekhyun.”
“I know it’s just…” He sighs. “The way they behaved before doesn’t match how they’re behaving now. Wouldn’t it be worth it to look into it?”
“I’m not looking forward to breaking my heart further.” Kyungsoo brings the glass to his lips, trying to take a sip. But he’s disappointed to find it empty. “I’d like to be alone again.”
“I said… I’d like to be alone again.”
Baekhyun leaves without saying another word. Kyungsoo can’t allow these thoughts to get in his head. He can’t allow hope into his heart.
Because hope can also be easily broken.
Jongin chugs on his coffee, letting out a sigh the moment the caffeine leaks into his system. The lack of sleep is slowly catching up to him, however, he’s doing a good job at keeping himself up. They’re close to getting answers. He can feel it. He cannot let this go now.
Kai is stretching in his chair. He looks just as tired, and he’s probably thinking the same.
They can’t stop now.
Chanyeol is sitting across from them, coffee untouched as his fingers fly across the keyboard of his laptop. He’s been looking into the car plate since he arrived while Kai investigates the SC group. There’s a missing piece in that puzzle. As soon as they’re able to connect those dots, he’s sure they’ll find their guy.
It’s only a matter of time.
“Got off the phone with Junmyeon,” Minseok says as he walks back into the office. “He says that there was an administrative meeting last night at the warehouse. It has to be one of them.”
“So, what we need is information on the car's owner?” Kai sighs, leaning back in his chair. His eyebrows twitch and his eyes are blank as he stares into the space.
“Got it,” Chanyeol says, turning the laptop around for them to see. “It’s an Audi, in black. The owner of the vehicle goes by the name Han Byung-ho”
Jongin walks closer to Chanyeol. “Wait… Han Byung-ho? As in Mr. Han the one we’ve been dealing with?”
Chanyeol folds his arms. “I’ll look into him.”
“The one behind our SC group deal,” Kai says. He goes back to his computer, typing something until he finds what he’s looking for. “He’s one of the shareholders.” He looks at Jongin.
“So, he’s the one behind the breach.” Jongin nods. “Knowing we didn’t have the right documents; he pulled the strings to rush the process when we were out of the city.”
Kai hums. “Maybe, but I don’t think that’s it. As far as I know, he doesn’t have any connection or influence in the underworld. Why would people listen to him? Why would Lee’s men just agree to follow him?”
“He has money.” Minseok offers.
“Yeah, but I have a feeling that’s not it.” Kai sighs. “Give Junmyeon this information. He can dig deeper.”
Minseok nods and leaves the room.
“Should I keep looking?” Chanyeol asks.
“You can, but I have the feeling we’ll only find what we’re supposed to find online. He’s behind a legitimate organization. The internet won’t have dirt on him.”
Silence falls between them.
Jongin faces his brother. “Any theories?”
Kai chuckles. “Of course… he has to be connected to someone already in this world. Someone who knows the way everything works. He’s probably making the calls and his inside man takes action.”
“He was the one behind Soo’s kidnapping all this time?”
They both frown, something about that doesn’t feel right.
Minseok rushes back into the room, setting his phone on speaker and placing it over the desk. “You’re on speaker.”
Kai smiles. “Junmyeon. Glad to hear your voice this early.”
There’s a sigh at the other end of the line. “Minseok says you found the person behind this?”
“We linked everything back to Han Byung-ho, apparently a shareholder of SC Group, and his car was seen last night over at Lee’s warehouses,” Kai says.
“Hmm.” There’s silence. “His name has been dropped here and there by different people, most of it was gossip, but according to one of my sources, he wasn’t Han Byung-ho until less than a year ago. He was Choi Byung-ho before then. He pulled a few strings to change it.”
Chanyeol raises an eyebrow, he goes back to his computer to look into it.
“He changed his last name. Why?” Kai asks.
“It could be anything honestly. My guess is that he wanted to avoid being linked to someone.” Junmyeon says.
Jongin glances at his brother. “Maybe that someone is his contact.”
“That’s possible. That way if goes down the drain, he won’t lose everything.” Except… he’s their only point of contact. It doesn’t click.
“Boss.” Chanyeol’s eyebrows shoot up. He turns the laptop around.
Kai reads through the information and his eyes widen when he realizes. “Choi Byung-ho and Choi Chung-ho?”
Jongin leans over to read the screen. “They’re related?”
“That explains the change in name,” Junmyeon says.
They were probably right. However, would it make sense for him to use someone with less influence in the organized crime scene? Besides, Choi didn’t look like the type to pull off something like this.
“Yeah, but it’s not what we were thinking.” Kai chuckles. It’s painfully obvious now. The more he thinks about it, the more the pieces fall into place. “He’s not the one calling the shots, he’s the cover.”
Minseok frowns. “The cover?”
Kai laughs. “Of course. He’s the one being seen around Lee’s territory, he’s the one behind the company’s deal. No one would be able to track it back to Choi unless they have this information. That coward is pulling the strings in the dark like he did with Lee. So, if things go wrong as they did last time, someone else will take the heat and he will have another chance.”
It all made sense to him. The guy had been playing the part so perfectly. Appearing as the innocent sheep when he has been the wolf all this time. And Kai had fallen for it. They all had. Kai remembers him saying something similar before. Something about working hard behind the scenes to earn his spot.
Working behind the scenes.
“That er got us good. He’s been planning it and letting other people get the bitter end.”
“Not this time.” Jongin growls. “What should we do now?”
Kai reaches out for his now cold coffee. Taking a sip. “I have a plan.” He smiles.
“Be careful,” Junmyeon says. “I have the feeling he’s one step ahead. If this is true, then he’s not to be messed with.”
“I underestimated him.” Kai nods. “I’ll admit that much. However, I think he underestimates us too. You know what they say: The lesson of history is that no one learns.”
And he’ll make sure they do now.